Date of Birth: Thursday 9 February 2012
Age on Arrival: 18 months old
Where: The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Now at Voi with the Partially Independent Orphans
This baby elephant is growing up!
See Suswa: Growing Up Ele : her Orphan Profile, Photos & a video at: The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT)
For more photos see Suswa’s own photo gallery
When you are a baby elephant riding along in a caravan “up the windy Rift Valley escarpment road, and through the towns on the outskirts of Nairobi” you are bound to draw all kinds of attention, especially in an area not prone to elephant sightings.
Having just been rescued in a remote area (leading to the Masai Mara ), the abandoned calf had been carefully positioned on a mattress in the back of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust’s familiar and trusty green jeep (their Mobile Vet Unit). Little did she know it then, baby Suswa was on her way home.
But it was not without contention that this little elephant found herself cushioned beside the kind humans who had taken extraordinary care to find her. Joining in the hour’s long search (which took them just past Mt Suswa, an inactive volcano) along with the Kenya Wildlife Service (who instigated the call to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust) was a number of “helpful Masai community” men.
Upon seeing them (obviously fearful of the approaching brigade) little Suswa, as she would be called, ran further and further away “through dry dusty river beds and scrub lands”, (a natural reaction of a wild born elephant).
Eventually the group came upon the frightened calf and the veterinarian was able dart the baby with a tranquilizer which stopped her frantic need for flight. And after seeing the drowsy elephant with the calming drug taking effect they were soon relieved.
Upon attaching a tether to her foot they found little Suswa amazingly responsive to their (her rescuers’) commands. After hearing the word “follow” she obliged! The orphaned baby elephant also instinctively understood how to accept nourishment from a bottle and she was immediately fed (one bottle of “rehydration” and one bottle of a special formula of milk).
Having endured an arduous and lengthy jeep ride (the remoteness of the area in which she was found was not conducive to a plane ride as there was no nearby air strip), in seemingly good spirits nonetheless, the orphaned calf arrived visibly weak and thin. Soon thereafter she “collapsed” and had to be “revived with an intravenous drip”. She has since bounded back, even in her weakest moments.
As she settled in she quickly found companionship with her nearest stockade mate, Kihari and this certainly bolstered her spirits. And on every occasion at feeding time she has practically been joined at the hip with her new keepers (well, that is where a yummy bottle of milk is sure to be found!)
With all of this love little Suswa needn’t feel abandoned, ever again.
She is now at home with a bevy of orphaned elephants sharing her new life. And as the days go by (she has become such “an incredibly gentle and lovely elephant”) and she gains more strength one can gather that she has found a peace that can only come from the love and care she has been shown at the DSWT nursery in Nairobi and now at Voi (Growing Up Ele!).
This from a frightened wild baby running from capture to a sweet elephant who has always loved joining in with all of the other orphaned elephants at their regular DSWT public outings / viewings, even from her very “first day out of the stockades”.
This little elephant has always been so “beautifully behaved” and with her “loving nature” one can only say …oh, wouldn’t her elephant herd ** and her mama have been so proud.
** DSWT never discovered how Suswa became orphaned
Update: Suswa and some of her ele friends moved to Voi
Note: At The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust you may “foster your orphan” from 1 year to up to 10 years! And before you submit your donation you “may select a few more orphans to foster” at the same time (for those of us who cannot decide!)
The orphaned elephants at The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust are “reliant on your kind support” and, as always, the future of our elephants is in our hands.
See Photo gallery of Suswa at DSWT:
The DSWT has an official Instagram account
For a sweet photo of Suswa: Growing Up Ele : see Suswa’s Instagram #Suswa
To learn more about The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust’s ( DSWT ) Fostering Program and how to Adopt SUSWA or other sweet elephants see: DSWT
Other Ways to Help The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust
Featured drawing elephant painting credit: Shades of Grey by Gwenn Seemel Creative Commons Flickr